Castlegar and District Community Services Society is operating a shelter and other services from the former Flamingo Hotel. Photo: Betsy Kline

Castlegar and District Community Services Society is operating a shelter and other services from the former Flamingo Hotel. Photo: Betsy Kline

Castlegar shelter answers questions about operations at new site

Castlegar and District Community services is operating the shelter at the old Flamingo Hotel

The Way Out Shelter has now moved into the former Flamingo Hotel, but that is not the only service that Castlegar and District Community Services Society (CDCSS) plans to offer at the site.

In addition to a homeless shelter, CDCSS plans to offer low-cost housing and harm-reduction services.

The shelter will continue to offer 10 beds as well as showers, hygiene products, counselling, laundry and meals for people whether they are staying at the shelter or not. It was originally intended as a temporary winter shelter, but a funding extension was granted to keep the facility open through at least June.

Shelter director Ray Griffiths says the shelter prioritizes local people first. But if there is vacant space the shelter reaches out to its counterparts in Trail and Nelson to fill those beds.

“It is a reciprocal agreement all the way around that has worked very well for us,” Griffiths told city council at a March 1 meeting.

At the council meeting CDCSS answered a number of questions from council and the public about its operational plans and procedures:

• The shelter is staffed 24 hours a day with two awake staff members.

• Clients are made aware of all policies during their intake interview.

• Clients are assigned a case worker.

• No drugs or alcohol are allowed in the building or on the property.

• No tents or trailers will be allowed on the property.

• 12-16 security cameras will be installed.

• If a client leaves the shelter after the doors close for the night, they are not allowed to return.

• Inappropriate shelter behaviour is addressed by an escalating reduction of services up to the point the client will not be allowed back.

• The exterior of the site will be checked on several times a day for cleanliness.

• The City of Castlegar does not own or operate the shelter.

The shelter is located in the portion of the hotel that was the previous owner’s living quarters. The former hotel rooms will be used for low-cost housing.

The low-cost housing will consist of five units suitable for occupancy by singles or couples. Priority will be given to those leaving homelessness.

The organization’s Drug Overdose Prevention Education (DOPE) team will also be operating out of the site. This service includes harm-reduction supplies, education and drug testing five days a week.

Other services will include helping people replace lost identification, transportation to medical appointments, help accessing mental health services, outreach nursing and AA meetings. A new program to help people with rental issues and community gardening will also be added to the site.

With the shelter relocation, the upstairs floor of the CDCSS building downtown will revert back to Chrissy’s Place Women’s Centre and space for youth once COVID-19 restrictions allow.

Lessons learned

At the council meeting CDCSS director Kristein Johnson acknowledged that there were some things that could have been done better when opening the downtown shelter location including better communication with neighbours and businesses.

Johnson said another thing the society learned since opening the shelter downtown is that the site was not really an appropriate spot for a shelter.

But when questioned about an increase in crime and two recent violent incidents in the shelter’s vicinity, Griffiths did not see it as a big problem.

“There have been two events in four months that possibly could be connected to us, but I personally don’t find that to be huge,” he said.

Griffiths said he does not expect to see an increase in crime in the neighbourhood of the new location as a result of the shelter.

The B.C. Coroners Service has recently confirmed that it is investigating a death at the shelter on Jan. 11. A full report is not expected for several months.

CDCSS has declined to comment on any specific incidents or individuals, citing privacy concerns.

Questions about the shelter can be directed to ray.griffiths@cdcss.ca. Immediate concerns can be phoned in to 250-608-5019.



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

castlegarhomeless housing

Just Posted

firefighters
Quick response douses brush fire in downtown Trail

A potentially dangerous brush fire was extinguished by Kootenay Boundary firefighters in minutes

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue volunteers doused a hillside fire late Monday night, May 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue puts out hillside fire

No one was injured after a campfire got out of control below Columbia Drive

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

View of the red SUV down an embankment. Photo: Trail RCMP
High speed crash sends 4 people to Trail hospital

The collision happened May 14 at the intersection of Highway 3B and Devito Drive

Lauren Regula
Trail native comes back for a third Olympic Games

Trail native Lauren Regula is proud to represent her country in softball at Tokyo Olympic Games

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

Grand Forks Fire/Rescue’s Dave Paulett hoses down a section of a wooden retaining wall which caught fire Monday, May 17. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Fire starts in Grand Forks backyard after by oily rags left in sun

Flames put out before reaching home on 800-block of 72nd Avenue

Most Read